Airbnb Design Dos and Don'ts: Boost Your Bookings with Expert Decorating Tips

airbnb decor airbnb decor mistakes airbnb design airbnb design tips Jan 12, 2024

Hi there, fellow interior design enthusiasts and Airbnb hosts! Turning your space into a cozy retreat for guests can either feel like an exciting endeavor, or rather overwhelming, depending on how much you love decorating. As an experienced interior designer, I'm here to share some friendly dos and don'ts to help you make your Airbnb stand out from the crowd.

Let's dive in and start with the positives! 

The Dos:


1. **Know Your Audience**

Understand the demographic you want to attract. Is your Airbnb in a trendy city hotspot or a peaceful countryside escape? Tailor your decor to the tastes and needs of your target audience, every time. 

I find it helpful to hone in on your EXACT ideal guest and create the space that they would really love. Bring every decision you make back to this guest and you won't go wrong. Check out Tracey Northcott's guest blog for more tips on how to customize your Airbnb to your ideal guest.

image above: Governor's Quarters, Hilton Head Island 


2. **Embrace Neutrals with a Pop of Color**

Neutrals create a timeless backdrop, allowing you to incorporate trendy elements without overwhelming the space. Add pops of color through accent pieces like throw pillows, rugs, or artwork for a vibrant touch.

image above: Cambridge Retreat 


3. **Invest in Quality Bedding**

A comfortable bed is non-negotiable for happy guests. Invest in high-quality, cozy bedding to ensure a restful night's sleep. Crisp linens and plump pillows will leave a lasting impression. Remember, rested guests are happy guests and happy guests leave 5-star reviews and make repeat bookings!

Trust me, this is one area where you cannot afford to cut corners! But you don't need to spend an absolute fortune. All you need is some insider knowledge on the best places to shop for quality linens... Don't panic! I've got you covered in this blog.  

And be sure to try my favorite sheets for a rental from Fix Linens --> shop via this link to have an extra discount applied at checkout! πŸ€—

image above: NC Glass Treehouse


4. **Consider Functionality**

If your Airbnb is a little tight on space, then be sure to opt for multifunctional furniture to make the most of it. Think foldable tables, sofa beds, and storage ottomans. Practicality can enhance the overall experience for your guests while leaving your space feeling calm and beautiful.

(Check out this link for my favorite affordable and durable sofa beds for a short-term rental!)

 image above: Hillside Hever


5. **Personalize with Local Touches**

Infuse a bit of local flavor into your decor. Whether it's artwork from local artists, a map of the area, or a small gift basket of local goodies — these touches create a memorable and authentic experience. Your guests have chosen your home from home over a cookie-cutter hotel, so be sure to give them the sense of place they've been looking for.

The NC Glass Treehouse shares a bottle of local wine with each guest. (Please check your local rules and your insurance policy before gifting alcohol to guests.)

image above: NC Glass Treehouse


6. **Offer Dedicated Workspace**

Almost everyone is working remotely at least some of the time these days, and looking for ways to do so comfortably when they travel.  It doesn't have to be a huge space, but a tucked away corner with a desk, chair, lamp, and maybe a power strip for plugs is going to prove invaluable to your potential guests. 

Do make sure it's away from the main living space... the corner of the bedroom, an unused wardrobe, or even the cupboard under the stairs can be the perfect spot. πŸ¦‰

image above: Hillside Hever



Okay, now let's talk about some things to avoid at all costs! 

The Don'ts:


1. **Don't Have too much "stuff" around...aka AVOID CLUTTER**

While it's tempting to showcase your unique finds, avoid overcrowding the space. Clutter can make a room feel smaller and less inviting. Keep it simple and tasteful.

image above: Hillside Hever


2. **Say No to Over-the-Top Themes**

First of all, let me say that a themed house CAN be done right... Hello! The Dolly House! πŸ‘€πŸ‘€ But generally speaking while themes can be fun, you need to be cautious not to go overboard. Subtle nods to a theme are great, but turning your Airbnb into a Hollywood set might be a bit much. Keep it stylish and sophisticated.



3. **Skip the Cheap Furnishings**

Being budget friendly doesn't have to mean cheap. Invest in quality furnishings that are durable and comfortable. Your guests will appreciate the effort, and it'll pay off in the long run.

 Head to this page to shop my favorite round-ups of interior items for rentals: πŸ‘‡


4. **Don't Overlook Lighting**

Lighting sets the mood, so don't overlook it! Opt for a mix of ambient, task, and accent lighting to create a well-lit and inviting space. Avoid harsh overhead lighting that can feel impersonal and clinical. Lamps are your friends!

Also, adding lighting outside can be magical, so look at that as a worthwhile investment. Nothing screams BOOK ME NOW like bistro lights hanging over a patio full of relaxation. 

image above: NC Glass Treehouse


5. **Don't Neglect the Details**

Details matter. Ensure your space is spotless, and pay attention to the little things: excellent sheets, enough cutlery in the kitchen, and fluffy towels. It's the small touches that make a big difference.

I can be known to select an Airbnb based on design alone, and tend to skimp reading reviews or striving to ensure we'll have an attentive host for the duration of our stay. My family recently went away for a few days to a nearby city in England, and we stayed in an impeccable, newly renovated place in a perfect location. 

You'll guess what's coming next... It was good, but not great. The painful part is that it wouldn't have taken much to BE great. To my host's credit, he was grateful to receive my feedback and eager to improve his rental based on my suggestions. Here's what they were:

1.) Have more than enough cutlery. There was one fork per guest in the whole home. (And one spoon per guest, and so on.)  Annoying to say the least. Infuriating to say the most.

2.) Hooks! We arrived in the middle of a rainy winter with nowhere to hang our wet coats. There was ample space in the entry for hooks to be placed on the walls! No space for hooks? Try a coat tree.

3.) Soft blankets for sofa snuggling. When I mentioned this to the host, he said he tried out blankets before and had a hard time with durability, and kept having to replace them presenting a maintenance time and money trap. I am sympathetic with this, so I'll share my favorite resource for good quality and easily washable blankets HERE.

image above: NC Glass Treehouse



Decorating your Airbnb space is an exciting journey that allows you to showcase your style while providing a comfortable haven for guests. By following these dos and don'ts, you'll create a welcoming atmosphere that guests won't soon forget.

I guarantee your booking calendar will be positively impacted by paying attention to these details. 


Happy decorating!

Other great reads for you...

Round Up: The Best Beds for your Airbnb

An Easy 3-Step Plan for your Airbnb Window Coverings

Wayfair Shopping for Your Airbnb... A Designer's Take

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